Warming up is an extremely important part of working out and should never, ever be skipped. Good warmup exercises will help loosen your body (thus reducing the risk of straining your muscles or injuring yourself) as well as shift your mindset into one that is conducive to a proper workout. If you’ve ever begun a workout without warming up properly, you’ll notice the difference – you’ll be more lethargic, bored, tired, and your body will feel stiff and inflexible.
Generally, you want to engage in good warm up exercises that work all the parts of your body and stretch all of your muscles, even the ones you aren’t going to be working out that session. That is why we recommend cardio warm ups, as cardio is the best way to get your heart rate (and your metabolism) up while targeting your body as a whole.
Those who focus on strength training typically skip cardio exercises as these don’t really help you bulk up, they just burn fat. However, there is evidence that engaging in a 15 minute cardio warm up exercise can boost your energy and give you better results during your strength training workout. Plus, cardio helps build endurance and stamina and is overall good for your health.
So, let’s take a look at 5 different types of cardio warm up exercises that you can try out! Don’t worry, we’ve ranked our warm ups in terms of intensity so you’ll definitely be able to find one that works for you, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a newbie aiming to get fit.
Basic Cardio Warm up routine,
A brisk walk around the park is an excellent warm-up exercise for those who are still new to the world of working out. It’s pretty difficult to get into the rhythm of exercise if you’re not used to it, so a brisk walk will help you ease into it. Note that this exercise specifies a “brisk” walk, not a “leisurely” one; you should be aiming to get your heart rate up. If you’re not sweating at least a little by the end of your walk, you weren’t doing it right!
You can do this workout at the gym on a treadmill too, just set the pace to around 2.5mph and work your way up to 3.5 – 3.8 mph. Be sure to walk for around 10-15 minutes.
Out of all the exercise warm ups out there, jogging is the best. Go for a jog around the park and get some vitamin D, or jog on a treadmill, as long as your heart rate increases and you’re sweating, you’re doing it right.
Try your best not to stop and walk for a stretch while on your jog. You’ll find that it is even more difficult to begin jogging again. You don’t have to jog fast, just aim to be consistent in your jogging speed.
Here’s a little tip for all those who get bored while jogging: bring your iPod and listen to some new music while you’re on your jog. Or, if you have a treadmill at home, position it in front of your TV so you can catch up on your favorite TV show while warming up.
Looking for a quick cardio warm up exercise? Butt kickers only take 3-5 minutes to do! All you have to do is stand with your legs apart (they should be in line with your hips). Position yourself on the balls of your feet – for those who don’t know what this is, it’s the padded portion of your feet right under your toes – and start kicking your heels up to your butt.
This exercise is similar to jogging, however, it takes more energy to bring your heels up to your butt, so about 5 minutes of it is enough for anyone to break into a sweat. It’s especially focused on warming up your quadriceps, so it’s a great warm up for a leg day workout!
This warm up is like a workout on its own, which is why we call it a workout warm up! A clever spin on the classic Jumping Jack, Cross Jacks are just as fun but much better as a warm up.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended out, palms facing down. Then, jump. While you jump cross your right arm and right foot over your left arm and left foot. Jump back into position, then jump and cross your left arm and left foot over your right arm and right foot. Continue doing this for about 3 minutes, allow yourself a minute to rest, then repeat for another 3 minutes. Don’t pause too long in between jumps, you want to be out of breath!
This exercise also works your core, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll start in a traditional plank position, then tighten your core and bring your right knee up, positioned right under your chest. Make sure your toes are off the ground! Then, bring your right knee back and your left knee forward instead. Continue alternating legs and go as fast as you can; you should feel as if you’re “running” in place.
See how long you can keep it up! A good length of time would be 2.5 to 3 minutes, then allow yourself to rest for a couple of minutes before “mountain climbing” again for another 2.5 to 3 minutes.
One important thing to keep in mind is to hold a proper plank position with your hands and shoulders in line and the bulk of your weight on your toes. Not only could holding an improper plank position lead to you straining your muscles/injuring yourself, you will also lose out on all the benefits this warm up has to offer.
So, which one of these workouts do you like best?